Gevulde Speculaas – Gingerbread/Marzipan slice

This is one of my favourite Dutch cakes, always in the shops around the pre-Christmas time, and you may have eaten some at Christmas Markets. Went down a treat with the neighbours last night at our Street’s carol singing session.

  • Self-raising flour (250g)
  • Salted butter (125g)
  • Soft brown sugar (150g)
  • A splash of milk
  • 1 packet of marzipan
  • A beaten egg.
  • 2 tablespoons of Speculaas Spices (or half mixed spice, half cinnamon)
  • Flaked almonds or whole blanched almonds – a handful

Chilling

Mix the flour, sugar, butter (just put it in a food mixer is easiest), add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time to get a soft dough, knead it into  a ball and chill for 30 mins.

While your dough is chilling, do the hard part: grate your marzipan, it’s hard because it gets really oily and sticky when you  handle it. If you’re fore-sighted enough, putting in the freezer first helps quite a bit. When it’s grated, or in as small chunks as you can manage add about 2/3rds of the beaten egg and mix it up so it’s quite loose and you’re able to spread it. Ideally, it’ll look a bit like scrambled eggs and be runny enough to spread evenly.

Cut the dough into two equal parts and roll out into a rough rectangle. Spread your marzipan/egg mix over it, quite close to the edges, if you do get a bit close to the edge, don’t worry, any of the marzipan that leaks out will get beautifully toasted and crunchy.

Roll out the other half of the dough and put it on top (Rolling it around the rolling pin helps)  if it breaks up, you can patch it up, don’t worry about it. Squidge the edges together to form a seal.

Brush the rest of the beaten egg over the top and either scatter some almond flakes over it, or if you have whole blanched almonds and fancy yourself as a Great British Bake Off kinda person, space them out with meticulous accuracy in a grid pattern representing where you will cutting the finished thing into squares.

Bake for 30 mins or so at 200 degrees

Let it cool! Give it good 30 mins or so, otherwise a) the red hot marzipan centre will burn your fingers, mouth etc and b) it’ll be a right mess when you cut it up, with liquid marzipan flowing out and sticking to your knife. Vrolijk Kerstfeest!

 

Gevulde speculaas – Dutch almond slice

Nuts to Lent! I’m giving up giving up things.  Even people who profess not to like marzipan (me included) seem to like this.

  • 200g self raising flour
  • 125g soft brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons speculaaskruiden
  • A pinch of salt
  • 150 g cold unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 300g marzipan (make sure it’s cold so it can be grated)
  • 50g slivered, flaked or whole almonds for decoration

Sieve the flour, sugar, spices and a pinch of salt into a large bowl. Rub the cold butter into the flour mix until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Try not to get it too warm or the butter will melt and the texture will not be quite as good. Add the milk. Knead the dough into a smooth ball, again trying not to handle it too much or get it too warm. Wrap the dough in cling film or a plastic bag, and place it in the refrigerator for 1 hour (or even overnight).

Whisk the eggs with 1 tablespoon water in a separate bowl. Grate the marzipan over another bowl and pour in half of the egg. Mash the egg with a fork through the marzipan.
Preheat the oven to 175 ˚ C. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle the counter and rolling pin with a little flour. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough to a piece of about 15 x 30 cm. Lay one piece on the baking sheet, then spread the marzipan mixture evenly over it, leaving a border of dough around the edge. Place the second sheet of dough on top and press the edges together to seal in the marzipan mixture.
Brush the top of the dough with the rest of the egg. Press the flaked or whole almonds into the dough as decoration. Put in the heated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. When baked, leave the cake to cool on the baking sheet before cutting.

Rather than use a baking sheet you could also use a round or square cake tin, which avoids having to roll out equal sized pieces as you can just press the dough into the bottom of the tin.

NOTE: speculaaskruiden is a spice mix, over which people will argue incessantly. It’s like asking what to put in a Christmas pudding – everyone has a different opinion.  However,  this page offers a good compromise that most people will agree with most of the time:

About Dutch Food – speculaaskruiden